In a rematch of last year’s Big Ten Tournament thriller, Indiana came to the Crisler Center looking for the same result that Michigan was seeking: a win to help their post-season chances
Michigan got out to a big start and never had to look back, as they dominated the Hoosiers from start to finish tonight. The Wolverines topped Indiana 90-60 in an effort that may have shown their most complete game of the season.
When Michigan played against UCLA earlier this season, they shot 12-for-16 from 3-point range and had 50 points in the first half. On Thursday night it was more of the same hot shooting for Michigan, only Indiana couldn’t match it. The Wolverines started the half on a 18-to-4 run that lasted over seven minutes. Michigan shot 66.7 percent from the field and went 7-for-11 from beyond the arc. Six of the seven triples came after Michigan’s run to open the game. Indiana did shoot 60 percent from the field in the first half, but turned the ball over eight times, while Michigan only had two. All-in-all, it was a 50-35 lead for Michigan at the break.
Walton Jr Ignites Michigan
When the Senior Derrick Walton Jr. gets it going, the team has seemed to respond well all season. He opened the game on 5-for-5 shooting and had 13 points going into the break, proving to be a key part of Michigan’s dominate first half. In the second half, he continued to play solid as he finished with 21 points while shooting 7-for-8 from the floor, also adding five assists and three boards. Walton has struggled at plenty of times this year, but look for this game to be a checkpoint that gets him going down the stretch for Michigan.
Moe and Wilson show up
At times this season, it has seemed like Michigan has had no life in the post for a majority of the game. That wasn’t the case tonight for Michigan’s two key big men. D.J. Wilson and Moe Wagner combined for 25 points and nine rebounds to help the team keep the lead throughout the game. Both also held their own underneath, playing solid on the block defense to keep Indiana in check in close to the hoop. D.j. Wilson had four blocks while Wagner added a couple of steals to help Michigan in an overall great effort on defense.
As it has been for all of the years under John Beilein, the Wolverines live and die by the 3-point shot. Tonight, they made a living, that is for certain. The Wolverines went 11-for-19 from beyond the arc with six players making a 3-point basket. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range, while Robinson also added three triples of his own. In the middle of the first half, when Indiana was threatening to make it a game again, Robinson hit two huge back-to-back triples that kept the game out of reach and led Michigan to an easy victory.
Shutting Down Blackmon
While Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson had pretty normal games on the offensive end, Michigan did shut down the Hoosiers top gun. Indiana’s leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. struggled to get anything going on offense against the Wolverines. He finished with just four points and Michigan only allowed him to take three shots in the game. The Wolverines have had a goal to be better on the defensive side of the ball, and over the last three games have held their opponents to under 70 points. If the Wolverines can play that kind of defense and play consistent offense, they have a chance to get where they want to be come March.
Michigan (14-7 overall, 4-4 Big Ten) will head to the Breslin Center to take on the in-state foe Michigan State (12-9, 4-4), in a game that both teams are desperately looking for a win. Tip-off will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and you catch the game on CBS.